Safe Sleep

Do you like to snuggle with your baby?  Fussy babies during sleepless nights can be difficult to manage and many parents opt to pull infants into their bed in hopes of getting some rest. The problem is the minute the adult becomes drowsy, that’s the minute the baby becomes at risk.    

According to 2011 Center for Disease Control data, each year an estimated 4500 infants die suddenly in the U.S.  due to no immediately, obvious cause.  Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) is the leading cause of death among infants one to twelve months and includes infections, metabolic and cardiac issues as well as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS.) Half of the deaths due to SUID are due to SIDS and according to the experts, are mostly preventable. SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants aged one month to one year

SUID deaths make up the largest percentage of infant child deaths in Georgia and account for the largest percentage of cases reviewed by local Child Fatality Review Panels. In 2010, SUID deaths accounted for 29.1% of all reviewed deaths as compared to 16% of child deaths that were ruled as homicides and 5.1% ruled as suicide.

Children who sleep in an adult bed have a forty times greater risk of SIDS and babies who sleep on soft bedding have a five times greater risk of SIDS than babies who sleep on a firm surface. Babies who sleep on their tummies also have a five times greater risk of SIDS than babies who are put to sleep on their back.  

In late 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released its expansion for reducing the number of deaths related to SIDS by releasing recommendations for safe sleep environments for infants.

This recommendation is the first expansion of sleep recommendations made by the AAP since the 1992.  The recommendations include, but are not limited to:

  • Place infants in a supine sleep position (on their back) to sleep
  • Place infants in a safety-approved crib, portable crib or bassinet
  • No bed-sharing; however, room-sharing is encouraged
  • Removal of pillows, quilts, comforters and other soft surfaces due to suffocation risks
  • Encourage the use of a pacifier

Nationwide, while the overall rate of SIDS has decreased by more than 50% since the early 90’s, rates for non-Hispanic Black and American Indian/Alaska Native infants has remained disproportionately higher than the rest of the population.

In Georgia, however, the racial disproportion is not as prevalent as the difference between males and females. In 2010 males made up the largest percentage of deaths with 65% while 35% occurred with a female. The percentage difference in race in infants was within six percentage points for both sexes.

DHS Safe Sleep Flyer

For additional information, you can visit the American Academy of Pediatrics or the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development.

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